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Posted by on Nov 26, 2023 in Retirement Humour |

Living Retired — ‘Planning Spontaneity’

Living Retired — ‘Planning Spontaneity’

Living Retired — ‘Planning Spontaneity’

By Gary Chalk.

As Jan and I approached retirement, we contemplated what we would do with more time on our hands. We decided we wanted to become more spontaneous. With no work commitments we would finally be able to just pick up and go. Wouldn’t that be fun!

Well, it has now been five months since Jan left her career and joined me in retirement — but our plan to be impromptu has, well, not gone as planned.

“Jan next week let’s go to Maine. We can get tickets to the Kennebunkport Coastal Kitchen Tour and snoop around designer kitchens and see what people’s new stovetops look like before the burners get greasy crud all over them.”

“But Gary, I have an appointment Tuesday and we are having lunch on Wednesday with Pat. Let’s plan to go in January.”

“Jan, the kitchen open house is next weekend. Besides, we said now that we have the time we will be more spontaneous.”

Jan — okay mostly me — need to be careful about being spontaneous. For example, when I left the broadcasting business to become a partner at an advertising agency, Jan decided I needed a new wardrobe. It was a spur of the moment spontaneous decision. This is what happened…

We were at Harry Rosen a high-end men’s wear store. Before you could say ‘Clothes Make the Man,’ Jan and her new best friend, Sylvia the salesclerk, shoved me into a change room to try on a traditional double-breasted blue blazer, along with a few shirts and matching ties, and slacks.

“OUCH! #$%$#@!!!”

“Gary, what’s going on in there? Are you all right? All I can see under the bottom of the door is you jumping all over in your sock-feet!”

“Jan, it’s all those damn sharp pins I removed from the shirts I am trying on. OUCH!

Jan and Sylvia were oblivious to my pain. Over the top of the half door hordes of silk pocket handkerchiefs flew in. A vest. An overcoat. More shirts!

In the end we left the store slugging Harry Rosen suit bags. Being spontaneous didn’t suit me.

The worst example of our spontaneity — well, my spontaneity — occurred many years ago when I suggested to Jan that we take a quick trip to Quebec City. Before you could say ‘Joie de vivra’ we were checking in at a hotel, so I decided to try my Grade 10 high school French.

“Bonjour,” I said to the desk clerk.

‘Bonjour monsieur, beinevenue, avez-vous un numero de-reservation? J’aurai be so in d’une Crete de credit et ave’s-vous besting d’un service de voiturer?

I stood in silence. He continued…

“Aimeriez-vous avoir un service de voiturier et utiliserez-vous nos installations de remise en forme et souhaitez-vous une chamber non-fumeur?”

I fidgeted. “Jan, I think he wants to speak with you.”

Later, walking through Old Quebec City, Jan had an impromptu suggestion, “Gary, remember the time we took my mother to the rooftop rotating restaurant at Hotel Le Concord. Let’s make a reservation for this evening.”

Surely Jan forgot that experience because this is what happened…

When we were seated, Jan’s mother placed her purse on the ledge beside our table. When the time came to pay the bill and leave, her mom couldn’t find her purse because the ledge was part of the rotating restaurant — and while we sipped French wine and ate coq au vin the restaurant rotated with the purse! OH NO!!! Think fast Gary…

For fifteen minutes I anxiously walked in a circle looking over diners’ tables for my mother-in-laws purse. Table after table…

“Excuse me. Are you enjoying your boeuf bourguignon? Have you seen a leather purse go by on the window ledge?”

“Bonjour, can I top up your wine? I am looking for my mother-in-laws purse. Have you seen it?”

“Hi. Aren’t the crepes yummy! Did you happen to see a purse slowly pass by you on the window ledge?”

Eventually, I circled the entire dining room, returning to our table where I began! Jan’s mother said, “Gary, my purse came back! While you were away it suddenly appeared on the window ledge.”

Jan added, “Gary, you missed some beautiful views of the Laurentian Mountains.”

“Jan, I have been walking in circles. Can’t you see my point of view?”